Monday, August 8, 2022

Take the Risk

I love this phrase. “Take the risk.”

It can apply to so many situations in our lives: careers, relationships, vulnerable moments with friends we trust, sharing pain, accepting hard truths and moving on…the list is endless.

When I think about the major career decisions I’ve made this phrase has been the driving force behind each of them. Sometimes it involved believing in myself enough that I went after that new ‘out of reach job’ and landed it. (That’s actually happened a few times.) 

In other circumstances the risk was implementing contemporary approaches to long-standing problems in the workplace. As we all know, it’s far easier to simply accept how things are instead of going head-on into those difficult places and making bold decisions.

It works, by the way.

When have you taken the risk? Did your action clearly demonstrate change for the better? Did you spend a lot of time in meetings talking about how things should be? Perhaps wondered how your life could be different? Or, maybe just got lost in the hectic pace of everyday life and let the opportunities slip away?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Highs and Lows

It would be nice if life moved along at a smooth pace. You know what I mean, mostly positive moments connected with the naturally occurring bumps, but nothing too dramatic.

But that’s not what 2022 has been for me.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced as many transitions, and the wild ride of emotions that follow those transitions, in any other year. You win, 2022. 

So, please stop now.

It’s been one thing to manage the transitions themselves…work pressure, so many responsibilities in all facets of life, many people relying on me, etc. That has been hard enough. When my emotions are layered on top…then add in personal relationships…the wild ride really kicks into overdrive.



The odd thing about 2022 is that I’ve had some amazing high points as well…including some playing out right now. Those are really exciting.

I’ve worked hard to manage my way to the mid-point of the year, but candidly, it hasn’t been easy.

Even though I feel like I’m winning, it still feels like a bit too much to handle sometimes. 

I wonder if any of you have felt this way?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Understanding How I Work and Live My Best

This Spring I decided to open my mind (for as much as that is possible) to understanding myself better. I’ve been trapped in self-inflicted stereotypes for a long time, and it was finally time to shed those insecurities and figure out how to fully maximize my whole self.

Whew, that’s a lot to think about…and do.

Work, which dominates my time has been an interesting analysis. I have peak productivity times, and I have times when I need to redirect my thinking and recharge so I can finish each day strong. The days of saying I go full power for 10 hours straight are gone. Why? Because my work suffered.

Workouts, which are a huge part of my non-work time have also been adjusted. Food intake, appropriate rest, and understanding that I can go much harder than my brain wants me to, have all improved my performance in the gym. You can too. Listen to your body, not your mind…it will quit on you long before you actually need to stop. My trainer has helped me understand this more than any article, video or “friend who really knows about exercise.”

Nutrition, which along with sleep are the foundations of our effectiveness at work and play are critical. My nutrition coach has made a huge difference in my life which is why he and I stay in contact every day.


As for relationships…well…that’s probably a post for another time.

The life puzzle that these pieces fit into shifts constantly and can be difficult to maintain…so it’s even more important that I focus and remain flexible. The results have been so positive for me.

How do you work best?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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Monday, July 18, 2022

Faith and Work

I've been an executive for a long time. I've had a deep faith much longer.

Yet for many years these two massive parts of my life ran in parallel.

Why? This makes abolutely no sense whatsoever. Sure, as an HR leader I got all caught up in political correctness to such an extreme that (for me) it became a bit embarrassing. 

Regardless of our faith pespective, do we really believe we can worship one day and then morph into some other person during the week and have that reconcile?

That's for each of us to answer privately.

I now openly talk about my faith, when appropriate; discuss how blessed I feel, not just quoting the #blessed hashtag; and make sure others know it is perfectly okay to discuss their faith with me regardless of their background or journey.

Is that wrong?

I don’t believe so.


My faith has pulled me through some dark periods (hopefully none of you noticed, because those are tough places to be, let alone when you're on public display.)

Where does your faith fit into your professional life? I hope you've made room.

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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Monday, July 11, 2022

Practicing and Preaching

As the son of a United Methodist minister I am no stranger to preaching. As a human resources executive for many years I’ve done my share of preaching too.

But do my actions always match my words?

I’m afraid not.

“Take time to rest and recharge!” Nope.

“Take your PTO, it’s important!” Nope.

“Ask for help when you need it!” Nope.

“You can say no, it’s actually okay!” Nope.

Does any of this strike a chord with you; or, am I the only one struggling to reconcile what I know is best with what I actually do?




Maybe this sounds like I’m fishing for false praise as a “hard worker”…or that I’m trying to showcase that I’m a super-leader? That’s a BIG nope.

In this new era of my No Excuses blog I’m taking my own leadership to a deeper level. I’m holding myself accountable differently. And even though it’s a little awkward to open myself up publicly, I know I need to. Perhaps one of you struggles in the same way?

As I continue to challenge myself and improve my effectiveness in my work and personal life, calling myself out on important issues is essential. How do you challenge yourself?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

That’s Not Allowed

I’m often relied upon to be the one full of energy and enthusiasm. It’s a bit humbling to be honest. Imagine, others looking to you to be the spark that brings them back from a dark place; or, simply to be that constant stream of positivity?

That also does not leave much room to feel human myself.

This has become one of the many sources of pressure I feel. My friends, family and colleagues expect me to ‘always be on.’ 

When those moments come and I’m worn out or simply feeling low…and I let my guard down and allow it to show…it is immediately recognized and the questions follow.

Most of time I’m fine. Others, not so much. But I don’t want to feel compelled to discuss those moments with anyone. I know their concern is well intended, and it is greatly appreciated.

It’s an odd thing really. One of my greatest strengths that I enjoy and utilize constantly, becomes a major stressor in an instant.



In the end I’ve conditioned myself to quietly whisper in my head “that’s not allowed” when I’m not feeling myself. It’s just easier to showcase my acting skills than it is to answer a flurry of questions and have those around me wondering what is going on in my head.

I’m actually fine…I’m just experiencing a range of emotions…just like you do.

Thanks for being here.

Jay

 

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Friday, July 1, 2022

The Kindness Competency

There are lots of unwritten rules around leadership.

Don't be too political.

Don't be too religious.

Don't be too sensitive.

Just focus on business.

I'm not an advocate for that perspective (anymore.) We're all experiencing the massive divide in the United States across many fronts. The pandemic, and a series of extreme Presidents on either end of the spectrum have reinforced that division.

So, where does kindness fit in at work? Is it something that is embraced, but only as words on a formal statement but are never backed up in the culture?

Does kindness become a central value to the very core of what an organization is about, so much so that kindness is placed ahead of the product, service, or care that is provided to the customer?

Or, is kindness supposed to happen organically while "getting the work done?"



For me, positioning kindness as a core value might be the most transformative decision any employer could make during these turbulent times. Imagine holding all of the employees from CEO to entry level team member accountable to demonstrating kindness before all other work gets done? 

What would that corporate culture feel like?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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